Every morning, as I’m rushing around the house trying to find my classroom keys, car keys, or house keys, I reiterate to my girls that I want to “hear good things” when I pick them up from school. After I (or, more likely, my husband) locate the keys I swear I put in my purse the night before, I give big hugs and lipsticked kisses to my daughters as they dine on bacon and oatmeal.
“You want to hear good things, Mommy?”
“Yes, sweetie,” I reply as I rush back to the living room looking for my cell phone. (Whew! At least it’s where I left it.) Running back through the house toward the back door, I grab my purse, my teaching bag full of papers I still haven’t graded, and my bottle of water.
“Good things,” I yell as the back door crashes shut.
As I put the key into the ignition, the thoughts of “good things” are transformed to “Lord, keep my family and me safe today. Protect us and our home. Go before, with, and after me. Anoint my steps. Bless my students and my school. Have your way.” Instantly, I’m transported to a place where bell schedules, teenagers, and rhetoric take over my mind. I’m in full teacher mode. I’m navigating, explaining, laughing, fighting, and refining non-stop. The ending bell rings, and I breathe. It’s time to pick up my girls.
I approach the big blue classroom door, eager to see my girls. My oldest, M., is standing near the door smiling. “Did you hear good things, Mommy?”
“I just got here. Let me ask your teachers.”
The looks exchanged between the two teachers let me know that all was not well in Pre-K land today.
“What happened?” I asked, knowing that I would get a straight answer.
“Well, when it comes to the academic stuff, she’s all for it. But we’ve been practicing for the end of the year show, and she refuses to participate. She won’t sing the songs or dance with the class. She just stands there. She won’t move or talk to anyone!”
Understanding instantly, I put my hands over M.’s ears and mouthed the words, “She’s just like me.”
“I know,” one teacher joked, “and the little one is just like Dad. She won’t do any work, but she’s always ready to sing and dance.” Of course, I think, D. is Mommy’s little performer.
The teacher and I smiled in agreement, and I encouraged the girls to say their goodbyes for the evening. On the way to the car, M. burst into tears.
“You didn’t hear good things.”
I tried to suppress the smile. “Well, I didn’t hear bad things either. You can make sure I hear good things tomorrow.”
D. talked all the way home about the variety of snacks she remembered seeing in the refrigerator this morning. All of them, in her mind, were viable options now. M. sat quietly sobbing to herself.
I pulled into the garage and opened M.’s door. “It’s okay,” I said. “You can make sure I hear good things tomorrow. Okay?”
“Okay, but Mommy?”
“I’ll sing, but I will not dance.”
- “I don’t want to clean up yet. I still want to be a teacher.” (marrylallwrite.com)